How Boeing's Simon McKirdy Talks to Dolphins in New Zealand

How Boeing's Simon McKirdy Talks to Dolphins in New Zealand

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“My life is like a dream,” says Simon McCurdy, 37, a New Zealand diving instructor who talks to dolphins. A fascinating journey through the life of a Boinger.

1/3Simone McCurdy says nature is amazing every day in Milford Sound, her home in New Zealand. Words can't describe her life, like when she saw a sea dragon while diving. © Grant Thomas
Wedding in Marktschwaben. In 2017, the two travelers got married in the area.
2/3Wedding in Marktschwaben. In 2017, the two travelers got married in the area. © Private
What appears to be a movie set is Simone and Lance McKirdy's workplace in Milford Sound.
3/3What appears to be a film set is Simone and Lance McKirdy's workplace in Milford Sound. © Grant Thomas

Boeing/Milford Sound – Simone McKirdy and her husband Lance are racing a boat across Milford Sound in southwest New Zealand. Her dark blonde hair is flapping in the wind. It looks like rain. Mumsie appears. The boat stops. Mumsie greets them both. It’s a whistle that Mumsie wants to say: Hello, how are you? Simone McKirdy is sure of it.

Mumsi is Simone McKirdy's favourite dolphin. The mother dolphin gave the name because she always carries her young with her. Mumsi translates to: mother; Mumsi as mother. Mumsi is one of the dolphins who always makes herself known, says the 37-year-old as she and her husband drive through the fjord, which in foggy weather resembles something out of a Lord of the Rings movie. It's no surprise that there are actually them on the island and they were film locations.

Waterfalls cascade over rocks on the edge of the world-famous Milford Sound. Green trees inhabit it. A soft mist is created from the water, forming rainbows. The place is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are 60 different species of black coral in the sea. It is Simone McKirdy’s home. The water is her passion, her job. “And my life now,” she says. She wears a green jade dolphin necklace around her neck. What it all is about and why she has not taken it off for four years will be discussed later.

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Tourist in the area

We meet the 37-year-old New Zealander in Ebersberg. She has her roots here in the area. Her parents live in Bohinj. But she hasn’t been back here very often. Not once from 2009 to 2015.

She had to Google the fact that there was a shopping centre in the area town, E-EinZ, when she visited again a few weeks ago in June and met us. “I feel like a tourist,” she says, smiling. She couldn’t imagine her life would be any better in New Zealand, on the other side of the world. Many people there didn’t lock their front doors at night. Nature was a new sight every day. Simone McKirdy lives with her husband Lance, 39, in a house among the green trees on Milford Sound. They run a small dive company called Descend Milford Sound. It all started for Lance in 2003, with snow and the internet.

Around the world with our newspaper. In our series we take you to foreign countries and cultures. We were looking for immigrants from the region who have their roots in the Ebersberg region and turned their backs on their homeland years ago. The reasons for this are various. And often by chance. We tell exciting stories about the nomads and how they feel in their new countries.

Simone McCurdy was still called Schreck at the time and lived with her parents in Boehring. She was studying business administration in Munich. She lived her preference for water in the Alps and in the form of snow. The 22-year-old went skiing every free minute, preferably in the Zugspitze and in Mayrhofen in the Zillertal.

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Traveler! Always!

Lance was living in London at the time. The two met online on a snowboarding forum. In October 2013, he came to Bavaria to go snowboarding in the Alps with Simone, sleeping with friends of the young Boengren for a week, then moving into the attic of Simone’s parents’ house, where he remains to this day, to be with her.

“I have always been an open person. A traveler,” says the 37-year-old today. That everything happened like this and Lance stayed? Coincidence, fate, “it fits perfectly,” she says. And Lance is also a traveler. They both travel back and forth between New Zealand and Germany, “depending on when the winter is,” they say. Wherever it is, they go skiing. They keep themselves afloat with small jobs, and don’t need much to be happy. In 2006, Simone Schreck stayed in New Zealand for longer than just a few months. She studies business and management and gains knowledge in film and photography. The goal at the time was: “Let’s see.” The parents at Boeing support her because they know that their daughter knows what she is doing. “Yes, what she did seems random. But it wasn’t.

On the other hand, Boinger’s skiing injury that took her off course is definitely not planned. A new beginning. In New Zealand. Lance and Simon become diving instructors. 2008: The couple’s plan: freelance. They tour New Zealand’s North Island, ending up in Queenstown, “the city of adventure,” where they rent an apartment and a garage where they plan dive trips to Lake Wakatipu, cleaning and storing oxygen tanks and equipment. They both “barely make ends meet” on their diving trips.

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“My life is like a dream”

In winter, Simon has to drive a taxi and Lance has to work as a gardener because there are no diving trips. In 2015, they moved to the house in Milford Sound, where they still live today and are building a successful diving business with a few employees. The life of the couple, who tied the knot in Marktschwaben in 2017, is as extraordinary as the nature surrounding their diving house on the coast. National park, rainforest, 100-meter-high waterfalls, black and red coral reefs. And dolphins.

In 2014, Lance gave Simone a green necklace. It’s a green jade dolphin, which the 37-year-old hasn’t taken off since. It hangs from her neck as she sits in a café in Ebersberg and talks. New Zealand jade, she says, has great significance in Maori and Aboriginal culture. It’s said that you have to find the perfect stone on the island for your partner to give you as a gift. A token of love. Lance’s search was completed in 2014. For Simone, the stone is a symbol of her connection to animals and water. And perhaps a symbol of her life path, which has many ups and downs but, she says, makes her incredibly happy. “My life is like a dream.”

The couple's children should also experience this in the future. This is the next tangible goal. Perhaps this is why Simone McCurdy gets along so well with Mumsey, the dolphin mother.

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